Patient preferences and quality of life associated with colorectal cancer screening.
OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to describe the attitudes of patients toward colorectal cancer screening, colon cancer, and colostomy. METHODS: Using the time trade-off technique, we interviewed four groups of patients at a veterans' hospital: 1) 46 patients with colorectal cancer, 2) 24 patients undergoing screening sigmoidoscopy, 3) 114 subjects participating in a screening colonoscopy study, and 4) 62 patients who have never undergone endoscopic screening for colorectal cancer. Using this technique, we measured quality of life for six scenarios pertaining to screening for colorectal cancer, the patient's current health, colorectal cancer, and colostomy. RESULTS: Unscreened patients were willing to give up significantly more time to avoid screening sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy (median 91 days and 183 days, respectively) than were patients undergoing screening sigmoidoscopy (median 0 days and 7 days, respectively), screening colonoscopy (median 0 days and 0 days, respectively), or patients with colorectal cancer (median 0 days and 0 days, respectively). Cancer patients rated their current health state lower than volunteers for screening. Colon cancer and colostomy were rated similarly by all four groups. Substantial variation in patient attitudes was present in all groups. CONCLUSIONS: Patients are generally very accepting of endoscopic screening for colorectal cancer. However, decisions regarding recommendations for colorectal cancer screening must take into account the variability in patient preferences. Effective alternative strategies should be available for those whose preferences do not comply with standard recommendations. The effect of patient education and physician recommendations on subjects' attitudes toward screening warrants further investigation.
Dominitz, JA; Provenzale, D
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